Thursday, July 11, 2013

Baby Bjorna Borger, Foot Surgery, & Real Estate

I decided to clear my head a bit and take a short break from real estate thinking and diaper wiping and give an update...mostly because I know everyone is eagerly awaiting hundreds of baby pictures - the ones your friends post on Facebook by the hundreds, because a handful isn't enough since their baby is just too darn cute! You tell yourself you won't be that dad, but once your baby arrives all that goes out the window when you realize he or she is far cuter than any other.  The truth is, not only is my baby better, but she's also perfect. She doesn't cry, she's well mannered, and she doesn't even poop. She's an angel.  So, expect pictures. Lots!
       From January through May, I filled my days with swimming, LOTS of cycling, coaching, and a few months of real estate school. I moved on from my previous job and yes, I went back to school! I had been working in and around homes for years, and actively been involved with sales for several years.  Since studying real estate in college and well before the day I gutted and remodeled my house with my brother (think trashed, urine stained, disgusting distressed house that has been totally brought back to life with a year and a half of TLC), I've had my mind on real estate. I've also hand my hand in managing various full home remodels the past few years. I love transforming homes and helping people find a home that's a fit. Getting licensed was always something I wanted to do, and it's something that I needed to do. It was the right time. I was initially held back the past few years a bit by fear of a paycheck tied to a full commission job (similar to my job last year), but ended up moving forward since real estate is what I love and what I want to do; no sense wasting time working in a field where you have no passion and things feel a bit stale. I experienced a bit of this working a few years in accounting out of college. I loved working with numbers and detail, but I yearned for more interaction with people. You have to do something where you feel you can help people, and that your efforts are valuable.  I passed up a few real estate opportunities last year since I wasn't licensed, another factor influencing my decision to become a realtor, but a lot of why I got into it was due to the opportunity to build relationships with people.  Relationships are what I love.  I love that real estate is not about selling someone a useless product, it's about having a hand in fulfilling a need. After real estate school came studying and prep for the state and national exam to get licensed, which was followed by office training and getting everything up and running on the real estate front - joining a managing broker, getting licenses in place, insurance, association applications, website up, business cards designed and made, for sale signs made, and diving in full force.  I decided to partner with Keller Williams Realty as my managing broker. KW is a company backed by great people, with great ethics and support, and the DTC office is about 10 minutes from home. It's the largest real estate company in the US terms of agent count, and has been a good fit so far.  I founded Podium Properties, my business I operate
in connection with Keller Williams as a KW agent. Ultimately, you are selling yourself, not a company name, but it's important to create your brand and image, and develop goals and have accountability. Why Podium Properties?  Well, the podium (in athletics and elsewhere) represents top level performance - a step above the rest, and the results of total commitment to the cause. I liked what it represented and the tie into my goal as a realtor; those who know me know I'm an all in type of person. It's hard for me to go 1/2 way into something. I like how Podium Properties flows and what it represents.  I've started working with clients for my first handful of listings, which has been fun.  I also have my hand in managing 4 full home remodel jobs getting properties ready to bring on the market. I get giddy managing the whole process, being able to pick out the design of the entire house, and seeing properties completely transformed.  It's been quite the scene at Home Depot lately - a guy with a pink cast riding around on a knee scooter (explained below), attempting to push carts full of tile and paint, while my wife Amy is lugging a car seat and diaper bag in one arm with boxes of light fixtures in the other arm. She is a trooper!  Things have been a bit crazy around here.

Back to the important stuff!  Riley Grace (aka Bjorna Borger) joined Amy and me on June 7th after a long 24 hours of labor. I joked for the past year about naming my first child Bjorn Borger, since I needed to make sure they turned out to be a super-athlete (think tennis star Bjorn  There was an ongoing joke for months that Bjorn was the name of choice, though when we found out it was a girl, the change to Bjorna had to be made.  When Bjorna arrived and when we were asked to fill out a birth certificate, we made a last minute switch to Riley, as we felt selecting the name Bjorna, a Swedish name, could be misleading and wouldn't truly represent my Dutch roots. We (when I say we, I mean "I" am, and since Amy married me, that means "we") are Dutch, not Swedes. Anyways.. Riley may not be Dutch, but it's less Swedish, so we went with it. That's the real reason ;) .
         I'm not exactly sure what happened 9 months ago in Denver. Well, I am, but I'm not sure why. Did Denver have a crazy snowstorm where no one could get to work? Was there a Barry White concert nearby? Maybe.  All I know is the labor and delivery unit was packed.  All rooms were full so we joined 2 other ladies in the backup triage room for about the first 7 hours.  There were curtains between us and the other two and a small divider wall, so it wasn't bad at all - though after the doctor was explaining C section procedures and instructions to the lady next to us, I thought things were about to get crazy.  They moved her down the hall for her delivery, so we didn't get to hear the play by play. A regular delivery room opened up in the evening, and Amy was moved from the small space to a fancy hotel style room.

Labor is amazing. Yes, it's kinda gross, bloody, scary, stressful, painful, and exhausting, but it's truly amazing.  I don't know how anyone who witness a labor isn't convinced there's a God.  The whole process is a miracle, from conception to the fact the body grows an organ (placenta) which provides everything the baby needs for 9 months and then discards it when it's no longer needed, to the milk that comes a few days after birth. Food that keeps the baby alive and well is magically produced after a baby is born, yet never any other time in a women's life.  That, to me, is mind blowing. If the entire process, from 9 months ago to after birth wasn't designed, that's extremely hard for me to believe.
Being a dad has been great.  Riley is a very chill baby, not much crying, just a lot of squeaking and plenty of grunting.  It's still kinda surreal, and crazy to think we created this little thing that started the size of a bean.
I threw a wrench into things a bit by having my foot surgery a week after Riley was born, but it needed to get done as I had waited months, was very antsy to get it over with and on the road to recovery and being a triathlete again. Also, I needed to be able to drive by the time Amy went back to work in early August.  (I explained my foot injury cause by a new running shoe in my last post HERE). I had put my triathlon season on hold for months already, and the motivation to be ready for 2014 is extremely high.  Honestly it was a bigger procedure and recovery than I expected, and it's affected me a lot more than anticipated - both mentally and physically.
I have a bit of a different perspective now, 3 weeks after surgery, than I did the week after. It was pretty rough at first. 
Pre-surgery, all smiles.
When you end up spending 6-8 hours a day on the couch, which is what I did for the first week, not able to get around, make a meal, go to the restroom as normal, take a shower, and really do much of anything, it's hard not to let it affect your spirits.  It wasn't until I was immobilized that I realized how active of a person I am - not just as an athlete, but as a person who simply can't sit still. I need to be doing something productive - mowing the yard, cleaning the gutters, vacuuming the house, organizing something, working on projects and the remodel jobs I'm managing.   I understand the power and importance of positive thinking, but I won't lie, it was surely a struggle that first week.  What really brought me to a low place was an accident that happened a week after surgery. I fell while on crutches when leaving the hospital after visiting my sister, who also had her newborn Katelyn two weeks after Riley. I caught either my shoe or the tip of my crutch on an edge of the sidewalk and went sprawling face forward. The worst part was that this happened while I was (foolishly) lifting my baby's car seat to try to help out and move her closer to the car. Amy had pulled up the car close to the hospital entrance, and was on her way to get the car seat from me. I attempted to lift the car seat, hop on one foot, and was going to hand her to my wife. Still stumped on why I'd attempt something so foolish, since it would save about 2 seconds of time,  but I think naturally I was having a hard time feeling unable to help out much. It was hard seeing Amy do so much after having Riley, and something deep down was feeling the need to prove I can take care of myself as well as Riley.   I also got extremely overconfident in my 1-footed hopping skills, which was also a poor decision since 1-legged hopping isn't a real sport. I viewed it as a means to get around a bit, and heck, if I was going to hop, I was going to be dang good at it. Clearly I wasn't thinking straight...maybe I can blame it on the meds I was on.  When I tripped the car seat tumbled and I hit the deck face first. The car seat rolled onto it's side. Thank the Lord Riley was strapped in. The seat hit the pavement as I landed partly on it, it rolled sideways, and Riley began to cry. I can't explain the horror I felt being mid air and watching this unfold.  All I cared about was Riley; thankfully she was totally fine.  I felt shooting pains in my surgically repaired foot as I landed partially on it.
The peroneus brevis attaches to the base of the 5th metatarsal, the spot of the fracture
At the moment, I thought I was in serious trouble.  I thought I had ripped out my sutures, and that my surgery may have to be redone. I rode home in the back seat of the car in shock. I was red in the face, tears coming from my eyes, completely drained from the past two weeks and so angry at myself for what I had done in putting Riley in that situation, not to mention what I had thought I'd done to my foot.  It shook me up for about a week and brought me to a low place.  I felt extreme guilt among many other emotions.  I didn't know if I'd be able to run normally again. I kept thinking what would happen if my foot didn't heal correctly due to what I'd done.
           I saw the Dr. the next morning after the fall, and he thought likely things were okay, but would have a better idea in a few weeks. I got another x-ray, but the he had used an absorbable screw to attach the sutures, so the x-ray was not helpful in determining if the suture anchor was in place.
 I recently went back a week ago and got a hard cast put on, which I have for 4 weeks total.  I decided to choose pink because...well, why not?  Baby cast...I figured it was fitting. Plus, it adds a little spunk to life; you only live once, right?  It was my first ever broken bone and cast, so I figured I'd go pink or go home.  The Dr. thought the healing looked ok, which was good news.  He did have to detach my peroneus brevis tendon to excise the bone fragment during the surgery, so the healing process will likely be a bit longer than I first anticipated, and I don't think the hard cast was originally in the plan before the surgery.

The battle wounds 1 week after surgery
Amy has been amazing in driving me to the office every morning, and picking me up later in the day. Everything takes about 50 times as long on crutches, though I got hooked up with a set of new wheels in the form of a rented knee scooter. It even has a basket on the front! Sounds silly, but honestly this thing has lifted my spirits so much. It's changed my life from life on crutches, really. I can get around a bit now. I made it to the gym the other day for a light upper body weights session, have been able to cruise around Home Depot, the grocery store, the mall, and everywhere in between. I've gotten used to it, and don't even notice the funny looks any more.
1st workout back
I am expecting 3 more months until I will be able to run, yet can swim and ride the bike sooner.  It will be a journey, just like last year was as I struggled with barriers getting in the way of racing, and only racing twice, but it will make the comeback that much sweeter.  I was thinking back, and I will probably have less than 20 runs under my belt in the past year and a half. I don't expect the comeback to be easy, but nothing good comes easy.  I'm determined to race at the pro level again, and at a higher level than I have yet.
Knee scooter grocery-ing

I constantly remind myself it's important to keep things in perspective, and Riley has helped with that.  She reminds me every day that life is great, and that things like injuries are just small speed bumps along the way - nothing that should depress us nor things we should dwell on when life around us is so good, and there are more important things in life than sport. The important thing is that Riley is healthy, and my wife's labor went smoothly, and we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, which has changed my life. It's also made me realize how grateful I need to be when I'm back training that I have the ability to train. I've vowed never to complain about another workout (let's see if I can hold myself to that!).  The ability to do what we do daily is something we often take for granted.

Thanks for reading. I can't wait to get back in action, and I can't wait to teach my little girl how to play sports and how to become a world champion in something ;).

I know you're dying to see more pictures, so here you go:

One benefit of surgery was lots of this
1 week old
Timex baby-sized headband
1 week old
I'm outnumbered with 3 ladies at home.
Riley's first trip to the pool

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